Marcel Dubuc has been a professional sculptor for the past 40 years and has studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montréal. Twenty years ago, he developed a new art form: fountain-sculpting. This quickly led to an environmental awareness centering on water. According to a method known as vasques vives or flow forms learned in England and the U.S., the artist has developed a dynamic and revitalizing technique. His waterscapes involve the rhythmic treatment of sewage, the improvement of drinkable water, and the therapeutic and poetic value of flowing water in schools, hospitals and parks. He has created fountain sculptures for several Québec organizations, notably, the Centre d’interprétation de l’eau, the Biosphere, the Centre de la petite enfance Tchou-tchou, the Institut de gériatrie de l’Université de Montréal and, recently, the Institut de Santé Naturelle de Montréal. For the last few years, Marcel Dubuc has been corresponding with educators in Mexico, where he has given workshops and conferences. The Alternative Technology Innovation Centre of Cuernavaca, where he is currently carrying out his artistic research, has recognized his global environmental approach. In partnership with this centre, he created a monumental water sculpture for an ecological park (Coatzacoalcos) in Mexico, where children can play with the four basic elements: earth, air, water and fire. In 2007 he took part in a fountain sculpture symposium in La Rochelle, France. In 2009 the artist gave a conference on his work at the 5th World Environmental Education Conference, held in Montréal.
Learning about water is an activity that enables a child or an adolescent to become a water-builder who will be respectful of nature. This workshop is based on the artist's experience as a fountain-sculptor. He has created a method, making it possible to touch water as if one were touching a living being. This workshop is designed with the learning disabled child or the child with behavioural problems in mind. Touching water entails building a clay canal through which the water flows and twirls.
In participating in this workshop, students make various attempts to direct water through their own personal river, created by them. Students invite this natural force to flow between the clay banks. They learn to create harmonious and level banks for their river. By touching and sculpting water, students give this element the respect and sensibility that it has lost over time. They enable the water to sing and dance by giving the water the impulse allowing it to find its rhythm and natural dynamism.
This fragile river built on aligned tables is a kind of melody able to calm both the water and students. Through this workshop, students are introduced to the various water and water-related formations: brooks, rivers, estuaries, the sea, water falls, lakes, islands, beaches, cliffs, marshlands, the tributary waters and effluents. Throughout this great co-operative interaction which evolves in time as well as in space, students experience and exchange humanistic values; philosophy of nature, ecology, democracy, peace and solidarity.
ln order to achieve this great endeavour, it is necessary to invest a minimum of two days of continuous work. The logical conclusion to this workshop is a permanent fountain for the school. The artist needs to have access to a room in the school for a 10-day period usually divided into two 5-day sessions. This work of art then becomes a pedagogical tool which can lead to other projects such as legends, songs, stones, mathematics, environmental studies; water and carbon cycles, climate change (tsunamis, tornadoes, floods) worldwide water and air heritage.
Examples of activities
The ephemeral stream
The permanent fountain
Here is how the operations will unfold: the sculptor prepares the basic material and then, depending on the age group of the students, they complete the work by putting on the finishing touches. A school-wide ceremony marks the end of the construction work associated with this beautiful creation. All during the workshop, students will be asked to take photos, film or draw. A young musician can also perform near the fountain. A DVD is produced at the end of the workshop.
The workshop requires specialized material costing a maximum of $100 per day.
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